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Episode 32 - The Long Game

On the next episode, screening 22 October 2016 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:


The Long Game


Every Tuesday afternoon in summer, sharemilker Murray Simpson mows the cricket pitch at the Waotu Reserve near Putaruru in South Waikato.


Murray and a neighbour discovered the wicket two years ago after locals told them cricket had been played at the reserve till about 20 years ago.


We got out our shovels, says Murray, who eventually located the old wicket under a blanket of weeds and topsoil. We believe the wicket was an old belt from the Kinleith Timber Mill.


His next step was to encourage some of his diary farming neighbours to put aside their problems and pressures for a few hours every Tuesday and join him on the pitch.


These days the weekly cricket match attracts all comers from the district. About 30 families come down to the reserve, have a hit and a giggle and relax amongst their mates.


Murray, who played first-class cricket in England, says the biggest challenge of the afternoon is to try to master the Waotu wicket.


Its no Lords, he says. But it has turned into a bit of a haven where people come for a few hours on a Tuesday and dont have to think about dairy farming.


Murray, his wife Tracey and their three children have been sharemilking at Waotu for 10 years, working in partnership with a Maori trust that owns the land.


Te Raparahi Trust puts a big emphasis on caring for the land and Murray says their influence has changed his approach to dairy farming.


We know the history of the land and want to make sure we leave all three farms in a better condition for future generations.


Milk from all the farms operated by the trust goes to the Miraka Milk factory at Mokai, northwest of Taupo.


Miraka, the countrys only Maori-owned milk company, runs its factory on geothermal power.


The company collects milk from farms within an 85-kilometre radius of the plant, giving it one of the smallest carbon footprints of any dairy company in New Zealand.


For more about Te Raparahi Lands Trust, visit:


For more about Miraka Milk, visit:


For more about Pikitu Marae , visit:




Dan Henry


Camera & Aerial Photography

Steve Fisher


Field Sound

Brad George


Editor & Colourist

Mike Townsend


Sound Mixer

Ian Leslie



Stephen Gallagher


Post Production Manager

Bailey Palmer


Production Manager

Robyn Best



Vivienne Jeffs


Network Executive

Jude Callen


Associate Producer

Dan Henry



Kerryanne Evans



Julian OBrien